Is Your Roof At Risk?
How to Identify Potential Roof Problems
It’s easy to take your roof for granted. As long as there aren’t any leaks, you don’t think about it. But as soon as you find a mysterious drip from the dining room ceiling or a patch of paint peeling in the kids’ bedroom, it’s obvious: No part of your home is more important to keeping the weather out than the complex system of wood decking, moisture barriers, shingles and ventilation installed just above your head.
Could Your Roof Be in Trouble?
Here are some common signs your roofing system may not be working efficiently for you:
- Leaks in the attic or top floor in rainy or snowy weather
- Water stains on interior ceilings
- Blistering or peeling paint and plaster on ceilings or walls
- Excessive shingle debris in gutters or the yard
- Shingles showing signs of deterioration by buckling, curling or blistering
Persistent problems keeping your home heated in cold months or cooled in warmer months
Know Your Roof
Because your roof is constantly exposed to the elements, it makes sense it will age. To make sure you spot potential problems early, the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends you inspect your roof several times a year for damage and wear.
What Causes a Roof to Deteriorate?
- Sun – Heat and ultraviolet rays cause roofing materials to age, especially on surfaces facing west or south.
- Rain – Water that gets underneath shingles or other roofing materials can cause the decking (base) and rafters to rot, threatening a home’s structural integrity. Moisture entering a house can damage walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems.
- Wind – High winds can lift shingles’ edges and force water and debris underneath.
- Snow & Ice – Melting snow often refreezes at a roof’s overhang where the surface is cooler, forming an ice dam. This blocks proper drainage into the gutter and allows water to back up under roofing materials and seep into the interior.
- Condensation – Moisture in poorly ventilated attics can lead to condensation that promotes decay of roof decking and rafters.
- Trees/Leaves – Tree branches touching or falling onto a roof can damage the roofing materials. Leaves on the roof and in gutters retain moisture and could cause rot and poor gutter drainage.
Missing or Torn Shingles
When shingles are missing or torn off, a roof’s structure and your home become vulnerable to water because the remaining shingles can be easily ripped or blown off.
When shingles are old and worn out, they curl, split and allow water to leak through. Damage and deterioration only get worse with time.
Good, tight-fitting flashing around chimneys, vents, skylights and wall/roof junctions is essential to creating a secure, watertight roofing system. Flashings should be checked as part of your spring and fall roof inspection and gutter cleaning.
Source: National Roofing Contractor’s Association. Graphics copyright PBR 2005.